By Cynthia Hirsch
Shop!’s Creative Council recently launched a new podcast series defining the “Next Normal.” We’re seeking to learn — and educate the industry on what we are learning — about how the coronavirus pandemic may change the future of retail. We will focus on a different area every two weeks, such as traditional retail, grocery, and restaurants.
Our first podcast featured the following experts:
- Sarah Jo Sautter, director of marketing for JGA
- Melissa A Gonzalez, founder & CEO of The Lionesque Group
- Josh Dunning, director of store planning and design at Brooks Brothers
- Neal Claassen, business strategist for Sevenpoint Interiors, a division of Visual Elements
- Mark Badhwar, RDI, VP of retail services, Kingsmen Projects
- Paul Pinkus, Sharing Wisdom
Many retailers across the globe have had to close their doors and furlough or lay off employees. Now they are working hard to figure out how to reopen amid consumer fears about being in close proximity to others.
Many retailers and manufacturers quickly converted their shops, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities to produce high-demand masks, face shields for medical staff, and partitions to keep sales staff and customers in essential stores safe.
Josh informed us that Brooks Brothers, for example, reopened all three of its factories and brought all employees back to start making masks. The company was gearing up to make on average about 150,000 a day. Moves like this are sure to have an impact on shoppers across the globe as things start to get back to the Next Normal.
It appears that many retailers may be looking for popups instead of jumping straight into opening new permanent locations. They’re studying what will work and will make customers feel safe going back into public spaces.
Will retailers now limit stock on the floor and go to more of a showroom model to allow for less fixturing and crowding of the store? Will there be limits on the number of people allowed into a store at a given time? All of this will soon come to light as the country is now looking to start reopening retail stores in phases.
Join us for future podcasts and listen to the recorded podcasts here.
Cynthia Hirsch is chair of the Shop! Creative Council and president of Collaborative Design Strategies.